Oscar-winning actor Javier Bardem recently visited the Antarctic seafloor in a two-person submarine to help call for the creation of a vast Antarctic Ocean Sanctuary.

After a two-hour dive to the seabed, at a depth of 270m near the Antarctic Peninsula, Javier Bardem described the ‘overwhelming variety of colours and life’ in the Antarctic.

“It is an incredibly important mission to go down and document these species in all their colourful existence and to prove the importance of protecting this unique ocean,” said Bardem.

Greenpeace is on a three-month expedition to the Antarctic to carry out scientific research, including seafloor submarine dives and sampling for plastic pollution, to highlight the urgent need for the creation of a 1.8 million square kilometre Antarctic Ocean Sanctuary to safeguard species like whales and penguins.

Javier Bardem continued: “As soon as we reached the seafloor, I was completely amazed by the overwhelming variety of colours and life all around us. I’m not a biologist, but to find a pink, yellow and green world of corals and sponges at the bottom of the Antarctic Ocean was a real surprise to me.”

Antarctic 1
Actor and Antarctic ambassador Javier Bardem and submarine pilot John Hocevar coming up the the surface after exploring the Antarctic seafloor on around 270 meters depth in Charlotte Bay off the Gerlache Strait. © Christian Åslund / Greenpeace

The proposal for an Antarctic Ocean Sanctuary has been submitted by the EU and will be considered when the Antarctic Ocean Commission next convenes, in October 2018.

Key findings from the footage gathered from the submarine dives will be shared with the Commission to establish localised protections as well as to strengthen this and other upcoming proposals for marine protection in the Antarctic.

The petition to create an Antarctic Ocean Sanctuary has already gathered over half a million signatures globally: http://protecttheantarctic.org

“To me, an experience like this shows exactly why we need to show respect as human beings,” added Bardem. “It is an incredibly important mission to go down and document these species in all their colourful existence to prove the importance of protecting a unique ocean that also feeds all the bigger animals in the Antarctic”.

John Hocevar, a Greenpeace US marine biologist who piloted the submarine, said:

“Being in a two-person submarine with Javier Bardem was awesome. He was a very relaxed passenger, especially considering this was his first dive. He seemed completely awestruck by the whole experience and so was I.”

Main image and video below © Greenpeace

Lorna Dockerill
Lorna fell in love with scuba diving back in 2011 during a trip to Thailand and Australia. Having always dreamt of seeing a sea turtle in the wild, her dream was realised on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef while training to become a certified diver. Since then she’s developed a passion for the natural world, writing about wildlife photography – both the on land and underwater kind – for the past eight years.


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